The former News of the World deputy editor with historic links to the highest echelons of Scotland Yard has been re-interviewed by detectives investigating phone hacking, The Independent has learnt.
Neil Wallis, the veteran tabloid newspaper executive who strongly criticised the police after he spent 19 months on bail between 2011 and 2013, was interviewed under caution three months ago.
The 63-year-old, who worked as a personal adviser to two former Met Commissioners and told the Leveson Inquiry he was a “good friend” of ex-police chief John Yates, attended a London police station by appointment last October and was questioned under caution on suspicion of conspiracy to illegally intercept voicemails.
Nicknamed “Wolfman”, Mr Wallis was originally arrested in July 2011, days after the News of the World closed, following allegations that it may have hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
Last February, the Crown Prosecution Service decided that there was not enough evidence and released him without charge. Mr Wallis said at the time: “I lost my job, and my family went through hell.”
Later he gave a newspaper interview saying: “The officers hadn't done their basic homework. It was surreal. I was a trophy arrest. Their modus operandi seemed to be if we ask him enough wide-ranging questions, he will end up confessing to something.”
Mr Wallis rose up through the ranks at The Sun before becoming editor of The People - owned by the Mirror Group - and, latterly, deputy editor of the News of the World under Andy Coulson. He maintained close links with many senior officers and admitted personally advising Lord Stevens when he successfully applied for the role of Met Commissioner in 2000.
When the police chief left the Met in 2005, he landed a £5,000-a-week column at the News of the World entitled “The Chief” which was ghost-written by Mr Wallis. The newspaper executive also worked closely with Sir Paul Stephenson and again advised him in his successful application to become Commissioner in 2009.
After he left his position as News of the World deputy editor in the same year, Mr Wallis's company, Chamy Media, was paid £24,000-a-year to give strategic advice to Scotland Yard's directorate of public affairs.
The process by which the contract was awarded led to an investigation into Dick Fedorcio, the Met's powerful head of press.
In his oral evidence at the Leveson Inquiry, Mr Wallis strongly rejected suggestions he sought to get something out of senior officers such as his friend, former Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who resigned shortly after admitting his decision not to investigate phone hacking at the News of the World was “pretty crap”.
“John Stevens is an officer who worked for 40-odd years in the police,” Mr Wallis said. “The suggestion that this man of integrity, of experience, of immense crime-fighting ability is going to be seduced by me taking him down to Cecconi's - I just can't begin to see where that comes from.”
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “A 63-year-old man, a former journalist, attended a west London police station on Tuesday 15 October by appointment. He was interviewed under caution in connection with suspicion of conspiracy to illegally intercept voicemails. He was not arrested.”
Mr Wallis declined to comment.Reuse content